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Take a few steps back

Today was another one of those days where I realized that what we were doing in class was far too much for my students. I am very glad that I decided to push them today and make sure that they were keeping pace, but I also could not see evidence of them processing the information because we were moving so quickly. What I realized is that we need to step back even further to summarizing text in order to build up to taking notes. 

As with my last post about how we truly need some needs based assessments to guide our teaching and even grouping of students, this is easily reflected in today’s lesson. One students out of 11 was able to answer questions from the reading. Many students struggled to keep the pace of writing as quickly as I needed to go. The negative side of this is that there was no time for reflection on what we were reading or writing. However, the positive side is that it is setting the pace of the class and will hopefully will encourage more attention to be paid in our time together. It’s an experiment. 

However, the video journals in my math course seemed to be doing well. While only 6 students have turned theirs in, they all understood the concept and were able to practice explaining their answers. My hope is that this will allow students to reflect on their learning in ways that they hadn’t before while at the same time practice language structures in meaningful ways. All of this being based on the idea that oracy precedes literacy with math being a type of literacy. This is also based on my recent readings about how early language development correlates with thinking abilities in logic and reasoning later in life. It was a fascinating study that looked at people with certain brain diseases that impacted their speech. While their speech was impacted, their thinking and reasoning wasn’t. Conversely, those who were impacted early with speech impairments in the brain were not able to attain the same levels of reasoning as those who had. Basically, even if you lose your speaking abilities later in life, it won’t necessarily impact your logical reasoning. However, without this language development, you cannot attain the same levels of logical thinking. 

Not to get too far off track, but that last paragraph just gave me an idea for how I would like to write my next couple of posts. One thing that I haven’t done is justify my praxis with elements that I have learned. This isn’t to say that I am just making things up as I go along. But it does mean that so much of what we do as teachers is based completely upon instinct. Yes, instinct is based on what you have learned, but we also know that instinct isn’t always the best method of dealing with problems or handling situations. I’m not sure what it would look like. Would I need to write two posts a day? A before and after? Or would I simply write down prompts and save them for later? I guess this is what I get to think about on the drive home. 

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